February 27, 2024
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Vancouver FC Pele Martinez

Club History: Vancouver FC’s ‘Pele’ Martinez Called Up For Belize

By on March 19, 2023 0 1745 Views

When Eugene ‘Pele’ Martinez suits up for Belize later this month, it’ll mark the first time the 25-year-old does so as a professional.

The newly-recruited Vancouver FC centre-back has been named in the Belizean squad set to square up against Guatemala and the Dominican Republic in Concacaf Nations League B action later on this month.

The 25-year-old made history as the first international signing to be unveiled by Vancouver FC, a Canadian Premier League expansion side set to kick off its first season next month. Now, he’ll also make history as the first of its athletes to embark on national team duty, too.

Vancouver FC Afshin Ghotbi
Martinez impressed head coach Ghotbi at VFC’s open trials. (Photo Credit: Vancouver FC / Beau Chevalier)

Martinez, who plays as a centre-back, made four national team appearances for Belize last year and played for NCAA Division II side Cal Poly Pomona Broncos and the UPSL’s Flash FC before impressing Vancouver FC in an open trial.

The first match will take place in the Belizean capital of Belmopan against Guatemala on March 24, with an away tilt against the Dominican Republic set to follow in San Cristobal on March 27. Belize finds itself in the bottom its League B group after one draw and three losses, having scored just one goal thus far.

Astute fans may have noticed another Belizean named Kyle Flowers earn a call-up from Altitude FC – it’s worth noting that’s a club in Belize rather than the League1 BC team of the same name.

Vancouver FC head coach Afshin Ghotbi described Martinez as a natural-born leader in the locker room, with the club now in the midst of its final preparations ahead of its inaugural match against neighbouring side Pacific FC on April 15.

This weekend saw the club secure a 2-2 preseason draw against Winnipeg’s Valour FC, something that will be seen as a good result for the newly-minted CPL side.

Martinez isn’t the only CPL athlete recieving a national team call up, with York United duo Brem Soumaoro and Mo Babouli earning nods from Liberia and Syria respectively, while Valour FC duo Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Pacifique Niyongabire have been called to Haiti and Burundi.

Header Image Credit: Vancouver FC / Beau Chevalier

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